New services available to veterans after information theft – …

New services available to veterans after information theft –

TALLAHASSEE – LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – Attorney General Charlie Crist today issued a consumer alert encouraging military veterans to take necessary precautions to protect their identities following the Department of Veterans Affairs’
recent announcement of the theft of personal information on millions of military veterans. Crist urged potential identity theft victims to take advantage of various new services being provided to monitor credit reports and stop identity theft from occurring.

The federal government will provide free credit monitoring to the millions of veterans whose personal information was stolen in May. The Department of Veterans Affairs will also hire a data analysis company to look for possible misuse of the stolen personal information. So far, officials say there have been no reports of any identity thefts stemming from the burglary in May.

“Identity theft is a pervasive crime that empties bank accounts and literally ruins lives,” said Crist. “It is particularly horrifying that this could happen on such a massive scale to countless heroes who risked their lives to ensure our freedoms. It is essential that those who may be victims know of the tools available to help them fight this crime and protect themselves.”

In addition to the services being offered by the federal government, Crist urged Florida veterans who believe they may be among those whose information was stolen to take the following steps to avoid becoming victims of identity theft:

– Find out if your personal information has been compromised by contacting the hotline set up by the Department of Veterans Affairs at
1-800-333-4636 or by checking online at http://www.firstgov.gov.

– If your information has been compromised, request a copy of your credit report. By law, you are entitled to receive a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Obtain the free reports by calling toll-free
1-877-322-8228 or by logging on to http://www.annualcreditreport.com.

– Cancel or change any accounts that may have been compromised.
Request that a fraud report be placed in your credit bureau file. Dispute any errors or unauthorized uses of your credit, in writing, through the credit bureau where the error appears.

– If you feel you have been the victim of identity theft, file a report with your local police department. Making a report will make it easier for you to be released from liability for charges you did not incur.
You should also contact the Federal Trade Commission toll-free at
1-877-438-4338 or online at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft.

Additional information on how to protect yourself from becoming the victim of identity theft is available through the Attorney General’s website at http://www.myfloridalegal.com/identitytheft. The Attorney General also has a brochure on Identity Theft, produced in conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, available at:
http://myfloridalegal.com/identitytheft.pdf.

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